NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Head of the United Nations Environment Programme
(UNEP) Erick Solheim on Friday hailed the decision of the
Chinese government to ban the processing and sale of ivory
“This is a historic
step and may well be a turning point in our fight to save the
elephant from extinction. We need more territories to follow
suit,” Solheim told Xinhua in an emailed statement.
The UNEP chief
welcomed the Chinese government’s decision to shut down 67
carving factories and outlets as part of a partial ban on ivory
trade, pending the full ban by the end of this year.
“The true measure of
the success of these rules will be how well they are enforced,”
Beijing took the
unprecedented step of banning the ivory trade when authorities
declared the shutting down of one third of the ivory processing
factories on Friday.
At least 105 other
factories and outlets are earmarked for closure this year.
the Chinese clampdown on the ivory trade has already pushed the
prices of the ivory and the number of elephants killed in the
last three years down by 65 percent, according to a report by
Save the Elephants.
Save the Elephants
researchers said the price of ivory dropped drastically from its
peak of 2,100 U.S. dollars per kg in 2014 to 730 dollars per kg
in Feburary, 2017.
UNEP has been
running the Wild for Life campaign against poaching and illegal
trade in the endangered species to raise awareness on the need
for the conservation of the big game.
congratulated the Chinese authorities for spearheading the
campaign to end the trade in ivory, which is illegal in most
countries with elephant herds.
“We will continue to
work closely with the Chinese government to ensure a healthy
national legacy remains for our children and grandchildren,”
Solheim told Xinhua.